Fister returns as Tigers start up set with Mariners

Doug Fister returns from the disabled list tonight to face the team that traded him last summer, as the Detroit Tigers open a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.

Fister broke in with the Mariners in 2009, but Seattle sent him to the Tigers as part of a six-player deal near last year's trade deadline. The deal wound up having the most impact of any, as Fister went 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA in 11 games (10 starts) down the stretch for the Tigers. He closed the year strong, posting a 7-0 mark, while allowing one run or less in his last eight outings.

"There's a lot of emotion to going back to where I started," said Fister. "But at the same point, it's still the same game. I'm going out there and facing hitters and going out there with me and I think [catcher Alex Avila]. We'll work together and again, it's not a focus of who I'm facing. It's just the matter of getting on the mound and throwing strikes."

Fister's season got off to a disappointing start this year, though, as he was forced to leave his first start with a left costochondral strain after allowing three hits in 3 2/3 scoreless innings.

The Tigers managed a series win on Sunday, as Prince Fielder, Austin Jackson and Andy Dirks each smacked solo shots in Detroit's 3-1 win over the Chicago White Sox.

All three players finished with two hits, while starter Rick Porcello (3-2) allowed just one run on four hits and two walks with five strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings of work. Closer Jose Valverde worked around a leadoff single in the ninth to record his fifth save of the season.

"He pitched extremely well," said Detroit manager Jim Leyland about Porcello. "That gives us a chance, particularly when you're not scoring the runs like we think we're capable of scoring."

Seattle, meanwhile, also enters on a high note after Hector Noesi went seven innings, Jesus Montero hit a two-run double and the Mariners defeated the Twins, 5-2, on Sunday in the finale of a three-game series.

Noesi (2-3) gave up one run on four hits and three walks while striking out five. Mike Carp hit a solo homer and Kyle Seager and Brendan Ryan had an RBI apiece for Seattle, which won the final two games of this series after dropping seven in a row.

"It's always nice to jump out early, take advantage of opportunities and get out in front like that," said Seattle manager Eric Wedge. "We had a couple guys step up for us in those RBI opportunities which is a good sign. I feel like we've got a lot of guys, offensively, heading in the right direction."

Tonight, Seattle will pin its hopes on righty Blake Beavan, who is 1-3 with a 4.45 ERA. Beavan lost on Wednesday to the Tampa Bay Rays, as he allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Beavan has never faced the Tigers.

The Mariners swept a three-game series in Detroit from April 24-26 and have won eight of the past 10 encounters.